The Link Between Divorce And The Lockdown

Divorce rates spiked after China surfaced from its lockdown. Is this a foreshadowing for South Africa? How can online mediation assist you in your personal life?


China, the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, shut down its provinces one by one starting in January 2020. It only recently lifted the lockdown. Perhaps one of the most striking implications of the lockdown was the negative effect it had on marriages. Within a matter of days of China lifting its lockdown, people started filing for divorce. Is this South Africa’s future?

Why are marriages suffering under lockdown?

1. Cabin Fever


Lockdown effectively means that one cannot leave their house with the exception of requiring essential goods and services. As such, people are confined together for weeks, sometimes months on end (with or without children). This can lead to agitation and frustration with not a wide choice of outlet.

2. Stress of COVID-10

COVID-19 has been marketed as dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Relatively little is known about this new virus and there is no vaccine available. South Africa’s healthcare system is already strained by resources and healthcare workers and would be unable to assist every person that requires life-saving ventilators. This makes the prospect of contracting the virus and passing it on to family members in confinement with you exceptionally stressful.

3. Economic uncertainty

The economic impact of a world under lockdown has far-reaching consequences. South Africa’s recession will play a role in determining who retains their jobs in the aftermath of the lockdown. But, for the time being, all people can do is sit at home and wait for the lockdown to be lifted. The pressure rooted in the uncertainty of one’s finances can result in additional tension and stress in a marriage.

4. Underlying issues

Couples already experiencing marital issues before the implementation of the lockdown may find themselves in a painful position during the lockdown. With nowhere to go and no-one to interact with (outside technological platforms), this will only exacerbate any underlying issues couples could be facing in their marriage.

5. A rise in domestic abuse

Many spouses who were victims of domestic abuse would have likely endured heightened levels of domestic violence during the lockdown. This would more likely propel the victim to exit the marriage. Since the lockdown took effect, the police have received over 87 000 gender-based violence complaints.


6. Poor Communication

Some couples may thrive during the lockdown and revel in each other’s company, while others may realise that they are unable to communicate or enjoy each other’s company, preferring the company of their colleagues or friends over that of their spouse.

What can we do to assist you?

Mediateworks has a panel of experts from mediators, counselors, lawyers to assist couples to navigate themselves out of any dispute that may arise. Mediation can take place both online or in person.



Have a look at our ‘Stay-In’ Your Relationship Recipe:





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